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Body Composition, Energy Expenditure and Physical Activity

Consumption of fructose-sweetened beverages for 10 weeks reduces net fat oxidation and energy expenditure in overweight/obese men and women



The results of short-term studies in humans suggest that, compared with glucose, acute consumption of fructose leads to increased postprandial energy expenditure and carbohydrate oxidation and decreased postprandial fat oxidation. The objective of this study was to determine the potential effects of increased fructose consumption compared with isocaloric glucose consumption on substrate utilization and energy expenditure following sustained consumption and under energy-balanced conditions.


As part of a parallel arm study, overweight/obese male and female subjects, 40–72 years, consumed glucose- or fructose-sweetened beverages providing 25% of energy requirements for 10 weeks. Energy expenditure and substrate utilization were assessed using indirect calorimetry at baseline and during the 10th week of intervention.


Consumption of fructose, but not glucose, led to significant decreases of net postprandial fat oxidation and significant increases of net postprandial carbohydrate oxidation (P<0.0001 for both). Resting energy expenditure (REE) decreased significantly from baseline values in subjects consuming fructose (P=0.031) but not in those consuming glucose.


Increased consumption of fructose for 10 weeks leads to marked changes of postprandial substrate utilization including a significant reduction of net fat oxidation. In addition, we report that REE is reduced compared with baseline values in subjects consuming fructose-sweetened beverages for 10 weeks.

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We thank Marinelle Nuñez, Brandi Bair, Rebecca Stewart, Sara Wuehler, Barbara Gale, Artem Dyachenko and Patrick Lam for their excellent technical support and Nicole Mullen and the nursing staff at CCRC for their dedicated nursing support. We also thank Janet Peerson for expert advice on the statistical analysis of the data. This research was supported with funding from NIH Grant R01HL-075675. The project also received support from the UC Davis Clinical and Translational Science Center (Grant UL1 RR024146). Dr Havel’s laboratory also received support from NIH Grants HL-091333, AT-002599, AT-002993, and AT-003545 and the American Diabetes Association. NL Keim’s research was supported by intramural USDA-ARS CRIS 5306-51530-019-00D.

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Correspondence to N L Keim.

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Cox, C., Stanhope, K., Schwarz, J. et al. Consumption of fructose-sweetened beverages for 10 weeks reduces net fat oxidation and energy expenditure in overweight/obese men and women. Eur J Clin Nutr 66, 201–208 (2012).

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  • fructose
  • fat oxidation
  • carbohydrate oxidation
  • energy expenditure
  • metabolic rate
  • humans

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